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How to view hidden, system files & folders!

Discussion in 'Malware Removal FAQ' started by chaslang, Oct 5, 2005.

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  1. chaslang

    chaslang MajorGeeks Admin - Master Malware Expert Staff Member

    Some malware programs can hide themselves from being visible. The below instructions (for each Windows Operating System) will allow you to configure your system to show all files and file extensions. Not doing this could allow file extensions commonly used by trojans and spyware to be hidden, for example a file ending in .exe or dll making manually finding it, if needed, difficult to impossible. PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU READ THE VERY IMPORTANT NOTE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS MESSAGE after configuring your system to view hidden items.

    Windows 7

    Follow these steps to display hidden files and folders in Windows 7.
    • Open Folder Options by clicking the Start button [​IMG]
    • Select Control Panel
    • Clicking Appearance and Personalization
    • And then click Folder Options.
    • Click the View tab.
    • Under Advanced settings, click Show hidden files and folders, and then click OK.
    Windows Server 2008

    • Close all programs and windows that you have open.
    • Right-Click Start.
    • Select Explore.
    • Select the Tools menu and click Folder Options.
    • Select the View Tab.
    • In Advanced Settings:, under Hidden files section select Show all files.
    • Uncheck Hide extensions for known file types.
    • Uncheck Hide protected operating system files (recommended).
    • Click Yes.
    • Click Apply.
    • Click OK.

    Windows Vista
    • Right Click Start
    • Select Explore
    • Select Organize
    • Select Folder and Search Options
    • Select the View tab
    • Under the Hidden files and folders heading select Show hidden files and folders.
    • Uncheck the Hide extensions for known file types option.
    • Uncheck the Hide protected operating system files (recommended) option.
    • Click yes to confirm that you really want to do this.
    • Click Apply
    • Click OK

    Windows Server 2003
    • Right Click Start.
    • Select Explore
    • Select the Tools menu and click Folder Options.
    • Select the View Tab.
    • Under the Hidden files and folders heading select Show hidden files and folders.
    • Uncheck the Hide extensions for known file types option.
    • Uncheck the Hide protected operating system files (recommended) option.
    • Click yes to confirm that you really want to do this.
    • Click Apply.
    • Click OK.
    Windows XP
    • Right Click Start.
    • Select Explore
    • Select the Tools menu and click Folder Options.
    • Select the View Tab.
    • Under the Hidden files and folders heading select Show hidden files and folders.
    • Uncheck the Hide extensions for known file types option.
    • Uncheck the Hide protected operating system files (recommended) option.
    • Click yes to confirm that you really want to do this.
    • Click Apply.
    • Click OK.
    Windows 2000
    • Right Click Start.
    • Select Explore
    • Select the Tools menu and click Folder Options.
    • Select the View Tab.
    • Under the Hidden files and folders heading select Show hidden files and folders.
    • Uncheck the Hide extensions for known file types option
    • Uncheck the Hide protected operating system files (recommended) option.
    • Click Yes to confirm
    • Click OK.
    Windows ME
    • Right Click Start.
    • Select Explore
    • Select the Tools menu and click Folder Options.
    • Select the View Tab.
    • Under the Hidden files and folders heading select Show hidden files and folders.
    • Uncheck the Hide extensions for known file types option.
    • Uncheck the Hide protected operating system files (recommended) option.
    • Click Yes to confirm
    • Click OK
    If you do not see all the files you may need to click on an underlined link for the drive being accessed the link will say:
    • View the Entire contents of this drive.
    Windows 98
    • Right Click Start.
    • Select Explore
    • Select the Tools menu and click Folder Options.
    • Select the View Tab.
    • In the Hidden files section select Show all files.
    • Click OK.
    IMPORTANT NOTE: Even after following these steps, some file extensions will still not be displayed. Thank Microsoft for another blunder and never fixing it, even though malware now uses it as a loop hole. The extensions that will still not be displayed are all for file types that are executable which makes this an even bigger problem. The extensions I'm referring to are .lnk, .pif and .shs . Malware is frequently using this loophole to infect your PC. Example problems:
    1. A file named somename.txt.shs will look like somename.txt but when you double click to open it with notepad. It will execute a program to infect you instead.
    2. somename.zip.pif will look like somename.zip but when you double click to openit with WinZip (or similar) it will again run some program to infect you.
    3. musicfile.mp3.lnk will look like musicfile.mp3 and when you double click on it to see what musice file it is you will again not play the MP3 but will instead run a program to infect your PC
    Those are just a few examples. There are many more. This is a very dangerous problem that should have been resolved a long time ago.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011
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